Reliving the nineties on the silver screen

Photo by Luke Sarazin

There’s something special about seeing your favourite movies on the big screen.

As Karlis Wilde – The Cord’s features editor – revealed last issue, going to the theatre is an experience beyond the actual movie itself. It’s not just the two-hour run time, it’s the atmosphere created around the theatre that keeps us coming back time and time again in this age of digital streaming.

When I found out that the Apollo Cinema was doing a ‘90s throwback week, I was beyond excited to see some of my favourite movies in a way I was not alive to be able to do in their first run – on the big screen.

Sure, I could have watched Jurassic Park on Netflix, where it has found its current home for our generation. I just watched my boyfriend’s DVD copy of Silence of the Lambs with him a few weeks prior to seeing that the Apollo was showing it on the big screen.

He and I went to both of those movies during the throwback week, regardless.

Movies – good movies – are meant to be seen and enjoyed with what film majors call the “cinematic apparatus,”: a darkened room, screen, projector and audience members.

This is how movies were designed to be viewed and this becomes extremely apparent when you’re present in that atmosphere of communal awe in the darkness.

That seems to be going by the wayside, as some of our screenings for film courses are even being cancelled due to low attendance. It’s undoubtedly easier – and probably cheaper – to just pop open your laptop and screen the required film.

But enjoying the film, really truly enjoying it, means no distractions. No pausing to make some more pasta, no texting your buddies, no stopping to go to class and coming back.

The experience is one thing, as Karlis discovered. The film seems more important when there are other people around you and you know there is a following beyond your own laptop screen.

But the movie itself is just as important to see in its natural setting.

The roar of the T-Rex is supposed to be over-bearing, to the point of discomfort, so there’s no point in turning it down on your DVD player. We’re supposed to follow Clarice’s journey from training to “having an old friend for dinner” completely uninterrupted and were supposed to be completely absorbed by the mystery.

The theatre is the natural movie-going environment and should never be discredited for its power and its merit.

Hell, I have two copies of the Harry Potter DVDs, but when Cineplex announced that they’d be showing the series on the lead-up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I was one of the first people to buy tickets at my local theatre.

I watched Deathly Hallows Part 2 seven times in theatres when it first came out, but now I can boast that the number of times I have seen it in theatres has jumped to eight.

It still made me cry. Harry Potter has had a huge impact on my life and seeing that in all its detail and focus was an experience in itself and that’s something I can’t replicate in my DVD copies.

Movies have the power to transport us to other worlds, give us new life and bring us to daring new places, and the best way to experience that is to fully immerse yourself in the story.

Especially with throwback movies like the Apollo’s ‘90s week, Cineplex’s “family favourites” and classic film series and the popular events at the Princess, you’re not making a gamble on the latest blockbuster.

When you go to see an old favourite, regardless of whether you’ve seen it before or not, you know it’s withstood the sands of time and that it is worth the watch. You shouldn’t ever walk out of one of these disappointed; you know exactly what to expect.

Whether it’s a cult flick like The Room, the annual screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show, or a classic throwback like Casablanca, next time you hear about a throwback on the screen, think about picking up a ticket.

These movies that can still bring in a crowd years after their primary releases tell us a lot about human nature: what we liked back then, what we like now and what never fades in our conditions.

It’s an experience that can teach us a lot about ourselves – all by sitting in a darkened theatre with a screen, a projector and an audience.

Leave a reply